Tuesday 18 February 2014

Interview with Andy Richards from Canaya

Well, you might indeed be wondering just who are Canaya? Yes, I am slightly backwards here, in the sense, that I present an interview, before a record review, however we’re not one for adhering to rules at Rancho Sludgelord.  You may not know this band, however that is for the moment at least, because with the release of their 2nd EP, Sealed Within Walls things are going to change, because you need this monumental slab of brutality, regardless of review.  A blend of metallic hardcore, mixed with sludge and sprinkling of that trademark Unsane crunch we all know and love,  these Yorkshire lads are going places. See for yourselves with the taster below.

Convinced yet? 4 yrs since their last record, Alignment Of Dying Planets, which is also a gnarly best, Canaya are essentially DIY, Formed in 2010 and featuring ex-members of Tangaroa, Executive Distraction Tasks, Hot Prophecy and Nerve Engine. Canaya’s bio suggests a sound drawn from an uncompromising urge to play powerful heavy music, pulling metal firmly into the 21st Century.  That my Sludgelord minions, is a bloody understatement.  So, without further recourse for waffle, I present my interview with Andy Richards, drummer with your new favourite band, Canaya.  I trust you will dig it. 

(SL) Let’s kick things off, who are you, state your name (s) and purpose?

“Name: Andy Richards, Instrument: Drums.”

(SL) Summarize your musical journey (s) this point?

(AR) “Canaya formed in 2010, we released the first EP, ‘Alignment Of Dying Planets’, at the tail end of that year. Since then it’s been consistent gigging, writing and touring.”

(SL) What can fans look forward to from you in 2014? How is your schedule shaping up?

(AR) “Shaping up nicely, tours and festival appearances are being organised as we speak. The new EP, ‘Sealed Within The Walls’, will be released on the 17th February through Hyde & Seek, the video for the first single, ‘Levitating Casket’, will be released not long after. We are doing a short run of dates in the UK in March with a great band called Castles who are from Belgium that will be the start of many more live shows to come. We also have another five songs ready to record for EP number 3, which will take place in the spring. So all in all we are keeping busy!”

SL) What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your new/current record?

(AR) “A sense of achievement, we are really proud of what we accomplished with this release. We knew how we wanted it to sound and hopefully that has translated to the finished product, the feedback thus far has been really promising.”

(SL) Who handles song writing duties?

(AR) “Owen (Guitar/Vox) and Chris (Bass/Vox) write the lion’s share of the riffs and hooks. We arrange the songs as a collective, everybody gives their input. Si (Vox) writes all his own lyrics. It’s definitely the sound of the four of us that makes the finished article.”

(SL) How long was the gestation of your new/current opus from conception to delivery?  

(AR) “We have been honing these songs in our rehearsal space and at our live shows for some time, so when it was time to press record we hit the ground running. The recording process was quick and painless; everything you hear on the EP was recorded by us in our rehearsal studio. We called upon Mark Burrows for help with mixing/production duties.”

(SL) The artwork is really great, was it designed with a particular physical format in mind? Who designed it?

(AR) “Thank you, we are so happy with how it turned out. Our good friend Steve Myles is the man responsible for the artwork, he’s a superb artist. We love Steve’s work and wanted him on board with the project, we gave him the title of the EP, songs titles and brief concept of what it was about lyrically and he went to work. We are all huge fans of vinyl and wanted the artwork to translate to that media as well as on CD’s, prints and posters.”

(SL) As a music fan yourselves and given that music seems to be so disposal at times, is it important  offer a great package to your fans, and yet not alienate them by producing something which is not affordable. What are your thoughts on the finished physical product? What format is/will be available? 

(AR) “Rock and metal fans are discerning, the music matters first and foremost but it’s very important to give people the full package. Everybody in this band could share tales of their teenage years; heading to their local record store to buy CD’s and T-shirts. As a fan it’s important, you feel a sense of belonging and unity with your favourite genre. The new EP will be available digitally and physically on CD and vinyl, we want everything and everybody to be represented.”

(SL).  Speaking off, getting a record out there are you a) Indiegogo (crowdfunding) or b) career no no

(AR) “We understand why bands choose the crowdfunding path, times are hard and financially the traditional music industry model has really taken a beating over the last fifteen years, regardless of whether you are a signed band on the major label payroll or you are an unsigned act trying to earn ends meat, we've all taken the hit. Because we choose to record the material ourselves our costs are minimal so there is no real reason to ask fans to invest money in us to record. The technology is so advanced these days that you can do it yourself, you don’t need the big expensive studios in order to compete, it’s a level playing field these days.”

(SL) The best and worst things about being in a band?

(AR) “I’m sure we've all had our experiences in the past but Canaya still feels new and fresh. Having a great sense of humor certainly helps and respect for the individuals in the band goes a long, long way. Doing a band isn't easy but the rewards can be amazing.”

(SL) Influences and heroes, what are turn offs and turn on’s?

(AR) “From the old school we are all huge fans of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera and Entombed. More recently we love Mastodon, Gojira, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and Kverlertak.”

SL) Any record from the past or present that springs to mind?

(AR) “‘Far Beyond Driven’ – Pantera, that album is a big hit with everybody in the band, a classic album that has stood the test of time.”

(SL) The last album that kicked your arse?

(AR) “‘Fiction Or Truth?’ – Castles. This is a cracking new release, highly recommended.”

(SL) What was your first instrument or musical experience and what do you use today?

(AR) “My first instrument was actually guitar and I still play it to this day. But I’m a drummer through and through nowadays.”

(SL) One item, gear or otherwise that characterises your band and one item from your set up you cannot live without?

(AR) “Owen’s Gibson Les Paul, but to be honest it’s all in his hands!”

(SL) Pro-tools versus old school?

(AR) “Old school all the way for us. When we record we tend to track each instrument in a couple of takes. We prefer to mic every instruments rather than using studio trickery. Although it’s amazing what technology can do these days, we still prefer to rely on the tried and tested recording techniques. We have spent time crafting these songs, something would be wrong if couldn't nail our parts quickly when it came to the recording.”

SL) Has their been much opportunity for your band to do live shows and is playing live  still as important today given the influences of the web and social media ?

(AR) “Very much so, the web and social media play their part but ultimately you've got get out there and play live, there is no substitute. You have to earn your stripes.”

(SL) Who are some your favourite bands you have toured with and what have been your band highlight (s) thus far.

(AR) “Top of the list would be Narrows, Coliseum, Keelhaul, Castles, Hawk Eyes and Humanfly.”

(SL) What are your survival tips for the road ?

(AR) “Sleep, water, vitamins and the patience of a saint!”

(SL) Vinyl Junkie or Ipod flunky? Discuss   

(AR) “Both have their place. None of Canaya own portable vinyl players and we all listen to music on a daily basis. Modern technology makes it really easy to keep up to date. There is a real nostalgia hearing those vinyl records we grew up with played they way they were originally intended.”

(SL) Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

(AR) “17/2/14, remember the date!”

Interview and Words by : Aaron Pickford 

You can pick up their new record and a bunch of other merch here

Tour Dates :

March 2nd - The Black Heart, London w/ Castles, USA Nails